Certification of non-ordained men and women in the PCA...

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(David) A Marxist political science professor in my college taught a course on licensing in which he argued that licensure and certification processes always stem from the desire of elites to monopolize and control.

Perhaps the rank and file of the PCA could learn a thing or two about the link between depravity and the processes of power from a radical Marxist...

As the PCA considers a Strategic Plan which includes the goal of "Establish(ing) standards for voluntary certification of men and women for specific non-ordained vocational ministries" in order to "Endorse the importance of lay men’s and lay women’s gifts in non-ordained church ministry" within the PCA, let's consider the forms of ministry this will actually lead to, where power will accumulate under the plan and who will lose if the proposal is enacted.

Under the Strategic Plan's playbook the following steps are necessary for the achievement of this goal:

1. CEP, RUM, Covenant College, & Covenant Seminary jointly test theological & practical preparation

2. Presbyteries & regional CEP Women’s Ministries experientially examine & certify

It's immediately apparent that big winners under this plan are Covenant College (CC) and Covenant Theological Seminary (CTS) which are granted the key role of designing (and perhaps applying--the plan is vague at this point) the testing for such non-ordained certification.

In essence, by granting PCA schools the right to establish and apply these standards, the PCA gives its educational institutions a new ministry career track to focus majors and degrees around. No doubt other colleges and seminaries will eventually provide equivalent programs, but this is an iPhone-and-ATT-style sweetheart deal for CTS and CC initially. And though Christians have historically been loath to acknowledge troubling evidence pouring out the doors of their denominational institutions of higher learning, it should be worrisome to all to consider the inherent conflict of interest in permitting institutions which will teach the certification coursework to design the certification's testing. Imagine allowing Stanley Kaplan to write the SAT and ACT tests. Well, that's what the PCA will be doing in giving testing and teaching responsibilities to CT\S and CC.

Second, what exactly does a form of non-ordained ministry conducted by laymen which requires theological and practical preparation along with testing for certification look like? How does such testing, certification and the ministry it leads to differ from ordination to pastoral ministry for men? Do we want men leading our churches who take theological coursework and undergo testing for ministry certification, but who lack the authority--who reject the calling, in effect--of an ordained shepherd of the Church of Christ? And applied to women, as Shakespeare said, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose, By any other name would

smell as sweet." Certification, schmertification, ordination.... You don't need much of a nose to smell the rose in this proposal.

Third, consider for a moment the potential standards which might be applied to women granted certification by such a program...

Those who argue for an ordained female diaconate are no doubt aware that Calvin's support for such an institution stems from his view of what Paul means in 1 Timothy 5 when he writes of placing widows on a "list." And the standards for assuming this position of leadership among the women of the Church? Well, hear the Word of God:

1 Timothy 5:9–14

A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man, having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work. But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married, thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge. At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention. Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach...

Really, how likely is it that this teaching, testing and certification process for women will bear any resemblance to the Biblical requirements for holy living for women? Does anyone think there's the slightest chance that a process designed by CC, CTS and CEP will contain even a hint of teaching or questioning concerning traits as essential to godly womanhood as submission to a husband?

Finally, the losers in such a plan? Well, it seems obvious enough. Losers are those men and women who believe their church should live by passages such as 1 Timothy 5:9-14, 1 Corinthians 14:34-37, Ephesians 5:22-33, etc. Of course, such losses are temporal. The Church of Christ will prevail against all her foes, but the PCA is looking more and more provincial and less and less like the Church of Christ catholic, universal and triumphant these days...